Enfilade

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, films, online learning by Editor on February 6, 2021

The exhibition Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection opened briefly at Harvard, before the museum was forced to close due to the pandemic. The catalogue of the collection, however, is scheduled to be published next month, and online programming continues, including a discussion of the film Edo Avant Garde.

Film Discussion: Edo Avant-Garde
Online, Tuesday, 9 February 2021, 7pm (EST)

Still from ‘Edo Avant-Garde’ (2019). Master of the I’nen Seal (1600–1630), Sōtatsu school, Trees, Japanese, Edo period, mid-17th century; pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, colors, and gold on paper (Washington, D.C.: Freer Gallery of Art, F1962.30).

Join us on Zoom for a discussion of the film Edo Avant-Garde with curator Rachel Saunders and director Linda Hoaglund, presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection.

Edo Avant-Garde (2019) reveals the story of how Japanese artists of the explosively creative Edo period (1615–1868) pioneered innovative approaches to painting that many in the west associate most readily with so-called modern art of the 20th century. Through groundbreaking interviews with scholars, priests, art dealers, and collectors in Japan and the United States, the film explores how the concepts of abstraction, minimalism, and surrealism are all to be found in Edo painting. The film’s exquisite cinematography and outstanding original soundtrack, composed in response to individual paintings, present a remarkable immersive experience of some of Japan’s most celebrated and yet least-filmed paintings, many of them outside traditional museum and gallery settings. Simultaneously dynamic and mesmerizing, at its heart Edo Avant-Garde offers a unique opportunity to look closely and see differently.

This conversation will take place online via Zoom. Free admission, but registration is required. To register, please complete this online form.

Edo Avant-Garde will be available to stream for free through the Harvard Art Museums from Friday, February 5 to Friday, February 12. Upon registration, you will receive a link and password to access the film. We encourage you to view the film in advance of the discussion! The film is also available to rent through the Pacific Film Archive at the Berkeley Art Museum (BAMPFA). Please click here for further details.

If you have any questions, please contact am_register@harvard.edu.

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Distributed by Yale University Press:

Rachel Saunders, ed., Catalogue of the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art (Cambridge: Harvard Art Museums, 2021), 264 pages, ISBN: 978-0300250909, $65.

The sophistication and variety of painting in Japan’s Edo period, as seen through a preeminent US collection.

Over more than four decades, Robert and Betsy Feinberg have assembled the finest private collection of Edo-period Japanese painting in the United States. The collection is notable for its size, its remarkable quality, and its comprehensiveness. It represents virtually every stylistic lineage of the Edo-period (1615–1868)—from the gorgeous decorative works of the Rinpa school to the luminous clarity of the Maruyama-Shijo school, from the ‘pictures of the floating world’ (ukiyo-e) to the inky innovations of the so-called eccentrics—in addition to sculpture from the medieval and early modern periods. Hanging scrolls, folding screens, handscrolls, albums, and fan paintings: the objects are as breathtaking as they are varied. This catalogue’s twelve contributors, including established names in the field alongside emerging voices, use the latest scholarship to offer sensitive close readings that bring these remarkable works to life.

Rachel Saunders is the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Associate Curator of Asian Art at the Harvard Art Museums.